Google Reader Alternatives

Google Reader Alternatives

Did you hear the collective gasp across the internet last night? As blog readers around the internet settled in for the evening to read their blogs on Google Reader, they were informed that things were about to change.  Google announced that it would be closing Google Reader as of July 1, 2013.  What’s more, there seem to be few programs that can do the job that Google Reader currently does.

As I mentioned here,  I rely heavily on Google Reader to manage the blogs that I read.  I currently have over 1000 unread posts that I’m hoping to get to some day, as well as over 50 blogs that I check on a fairly regular basis. Moving all of that content to another, preferably free, provider seems like an enormous task.

A quick internet search last night provided few alternatives.  Fortunately, this is the digital age, and a short 24 hours has already produced a plethora of articles about Google Reader Alternatives.   The ones I’ve looked at so far are below. Click the name of the service to see their website.

Bloglovin

Initially designed for fashion blogs, the interface for this service is particularly visual. Most of my favorite blogs, are on my favorites list because of the pictures. Show me a beautifully decorated room or entree that looks incredible and I’m instantly drawn in and ready to see more.  So I like the idea of a blog reader that will make it easy to enjoy my favorite blogs.  I worry about how hard it will be to transfer all of my content to Bloglovin.  I’ve started Google Takeout, as Google suggested when they made their announcement, but importing that content into Bloglovin wasn’t particularly intuitive and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to figure it out.  It seems like a promising option though.  Some of the other bloggers I’ve talked with are excited about Bloglovin.

Update: Bloglovin quickly updated their service and they have made it almost as easy to upload blogs as with Feedly.  All of my blogs were uploaded, but I did have to recreate my categories.  I love seeing the blog post in the context of the original blog, but this did slow things down a bit.  I tend to skim through blog posts and this was hard to do when I had to wait for each blog page to load. I still seem to be doing most of my reading on Feedly, but I haven’t totally given up on Bloglovin.

Feedly

Feedly is a Chrome product that someone mentioned last night.  It took me only seconds to import my list of blogs from Google Reader.  Unfortunately, it was incredibly slow to import my content. I’m inclined to suspect that the site was over run with Google Reader refugees and that this will improve with time. Now that my content is there, it seems to be pretty similar to Google reader.  I had  to adjust the settings a bit to get it to feel right, but over all, I think  I could get used to it.

The Old Reader

This service is at the top of a lot of Google Reader alternative lists.  It’s supposed to be just like, “the old google reader.”  It looks to be that way, but honestly I never got a chance to try it out.  In contrast to Feedly, which automatically imported all of my content from Google Reader, The Old Reader wanted me to unzip and upload my Google Takeout files.  That’s a lot of extra steps when Feedly does it all for me automatically and I’ve got other things I want to spend my time on.

Conclusion:

I really want to like Bloglovin.  Other bloggers I know speak highly of it, and I love the visual interface, but they’re going to have to make it a lot easier for me to import my content if they want me to do my reading over there.   The Old Reader had the same issue as Bloglovin. Getting my reader content into it was not automatic and seamless like it was with Feedly.  Feedly was just so very easy, and I’m all about easy. I’ll keep my eye on Bloglovin, but I’ll be doing most of my reading on Feedly for the time being.  

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Using Google Reader to Keep Up With the Blogs You Want to Read

 

Using Google Reader to Keep Up with the Blogs You Want to Read

Books

Update: Google recently announced they they would be discontinuing Google Reader as of July 1, 2013. As a result, I no longer recommend it as a blog reader. Click here to read my newest post about alternatives to Google Reader.

I’ve been reading blogs on a regular basis for several years now.  Initially, I would visit each blogger’s page periodically to see if they’d written anything new. This was time consuming, and not necessarily helpful because many of the bloggers I read would go weeks between posts. At some point along the way, someone suggested that I use Google Reader and that changed everything.

I use Google Reader to subscribe to any blog that interests me. Then, when the blogger posts something new,  the new post shows up in my Reader right away, and then stays there until I can get to it. I don’t have to keep checking in every few days because I know that everything will be in my reader when I’m ready for it.  I now follow over one hundred blogs on a plethora of topics. I have all of my blogs organized by category: Deocrating, Teaching, Cooking, etc.  When I have a free minute, I can sit down and browse the most current posts in whatever topic I’m interested in at the moment. This is particularly useful with my teaching blogs.  There is simply no way that I could keep up with all of the blogs that I follow if I didn’t have their posts all in one place.

If you’re lucky, the blog you want to subscribe to will have an RSS reader icon that looks like this.

rss-orange-radar-bar-chicklet-icon

If you can find that icon, you click on it and then it will ask you which reader you want to subscribe with. You simply click “Subscribe with Google Reader” and you’re done! Unfortunately  not all the blogs I like to follow have an RSS button. So I’ve learned to put them directly into my reader.  Here’s how you do it:

Google Reader is pretty straight forward, particularly if you already have a Google account. The first thing you need to do is sign into your Google account. When you’re signed in, you should have a toolbar across the top of your screen that looks like this:

google tool bar

If you click on “more” there will be a drop down menu, and one of the choices will be “Reader.”

Once you’re on the reader screen, you need to look for the “Subscribe” button. It’s orange and on the upper left.

When you click on subscribe, you’ll see a box like the one below.

subscribe button

Next open another tab on your browser and find a blog that you want to follow. For this example, we’ll follow Technology in Early Childhood. Copy the URL of that blog.  For Technology in Early Childhood the URL is

technologyinearlychildhood.wordpress.com

The URL is the “address” for the blog that’s at the top of your browser.  In Google Chrome (the browser I use) the URL is circled in the picture below.

url location-001

Next, click back to the tab where you have Google Reader open, and paste the URL into that box under the subscribe button.

Click “add” and you have now subscribed to your first blog!

Once you’ve got a few blogs you’re reading, you may want to add some categories. Here’s how you do it.

*All of the blogs that you subscribe to will be listed on the left hand side of your page.

*Hover over the title of any blog that you want put in a category.

*Click on the inverted triangle that appears on the right hand side of the blog title

*Choose “New Folder” from the menu.

*Enter the title for your first category and the blog you highlighted will automatically be added to that folder.

*Repeat the process with any blogs you want to add to that  folder, except choose the folder you made, instead of “new folder.”

A full Reader is a good friend to any bibliophile; you can always have something  to read on hand. You just log into google, click on “reader” under the more button, and go to town.

Looking for some blogs to add to your reader? Here are a few of my favorites. Click on the name of the blog to visit it.

Teaching:

Boy Mama Teacher Mama  Full of great teaching ideas, and mommy ideas

Teach Preschool  Lots of hands on, engaging preschool lessons

Home:

The Pioneer Woman  Amazing recipes, humor and tales of life on a ranch

Young House Love  House Decorating ideas

Cooking:

Bakerella  The inventor of cake pops! Lots of yummy treats

VegGirl RD She makes vegetarian eating look so yummy

Of course there are countless other ways to follow blogs. Most blogs have a place where you can enter your email address to receive an email when the blog is updated.  That honestly isn’t my favorite method because my email box is pretty cluttered already, and I miss my favorite blog posts that way.  But it does work for someone who isn’t going to read a ton of blogs.  I suspect to that as a blogger, rather than a blog reader, I will soon discover other ways to keep up with my favorite blogs.  I’ve tried to follow a couple of you that are following me through WordPress with only mixed success. Let me know if you’ve got any tips for me on that! Otherwise, happy reading!